Fuxing Park (复兴公园) is a modestly sized park located near Xintiandi (新天地), a former European occupied neighborhood renovated into high-end shopping and clubbing. European influence is abundant throughout Shanghai, and so are high-end shopping areas. However, I walked down streets that looked like this:
|One of the entrances to Fuxing Park.
But the reason I ended up enjoying my time at Fuxing so much had little to do with nature: it was, in fact, the people in the park that completed the experience for me. This is Shanghai, so there are people people people everywhere, and everyone is trying to get to where they need to go as quickly as they can. However, the people at Fuxing were not in a rush. Things seemed to run about three times slower than the city beyond the park's boundaries, and maybe it is the absence of this need to be somewhere else that makes everyone more easy-going, and I more interested in watching them.
Clusters of old men and women sat together on benches or in circles of scooters, gossiping. Young parents patiently played ball in the middle of the street with their toddler children. Men dressed in loose cotton clothing practiced taichi with their eyes closed while listening to a Chinese opera singer's warbling over their boombox. Tourist families ambled slowly by, enjoying the view and not rushing to visit a hundred other places. An artist unhurriedly set up shop on a bench, one by one leaning his portraits on the bench to attract customers. European students sat two by two on the benches and read. And me, sitting there in the middle of all that, wrote everything down with a lightness of spirit that I closely associate with special places.
I didn't stay long because it was so broiling hot, but I'd like to go back one day, maybe with some friends, and throw a frisbee around on the lawn or something before chilling out on the benches. Fuxing Park is definitely my kind of park, and I'm happy to know that there's a Steph-place in the middle of all this concrete. :)